Permanent Magnet Moving Coil or PMMC Instrument

Definition: The instruments which use the permanent magnet for creating the stationary magnetic field between which the coil moves is known as the permanent magnet moving coil or PMMC instrument. It operates on the principle that the torque is exerted on the moving coil placed in the field of the permanent magnet. The PMMC instrument gives the accurate result for DC measurement.

Construction of PMMC Instrument

The moving coil and permanent magnet are the main part of the PMMC instrument. The parts of the PMMC instruments are explained below in details.


Moving Coil – The coil is the current carrying part of the instruments which is freely moved between the stationary field of the permanent magnet. The current passes through the coil deflects it due to which the magnitude of the current or voltage is determined. The coil is mounted on the rectangular former which is made up of aluminium. The former increases the radial and uniform magnetic field between the air gap of the poles. The coil is wound with the silk cover copper wire between the poles of a magnet.

he coil is mounted on the rectangular former which is made up of aluminium. The former increases the radial and uniform magnetic field between the air gap of the poles. The coil is wound with the silk cover copper wire between the poles of a magnet.

Magnet System – The PMMC instrument using the permanent magnet for creating the stationary magnets. The Alcomax and Alnico material are used for creating the permanent magnet because this magnet has the high coercive force (The coercive force changes the magnetisation property of the magnet).  Also, the magnet has high field intensities.

Control – In PMMC instrument the controlling torque is because of the springs. The springs are made up of phosphorous bronze and placed between the two jewel bearings. The spring also provides the path to the lead current to flow in and out of the moving coil. The controlling torque is mainly because of the suspension of the ribbon.

Damping –  The damping torque is used for keeping the movement of the coil in rest. This damping torque is induced because of the movement of the aluminium core which is moving between the poles of the permanent magnet.

Pointer & Scale – The pointer is linked with the moving coil. The pointer notices the deflection of the coil, and the magnitude of their deviation is shown on the scale. The pointer is made of the lightweight material, and hence it is easily deflected with the movement of the coil. Sometimes the parallax error occurs in the instrument which is easily reduced by correctly aligning the blade of the pointer.

Torque Equation for PMMC Instrument

The deflecting torque induces because of the movement of the coil. The deflecting torque is expressed by the equation shown below. pmmc-equation-1

Where, N – Number of turns of coil
B – flux density in the air gap
L, d – the vertical and horizontal length of the side.
I – current through the coil.pmmc-equation-2

The spring provides the restoring torque to the moving coil which is expressed as pmmc-equation-3

Where K = Spring constant.

For final deflection, pmmc-equation-4

By substituting the value of equation (1) and (3) we get,




The above equation shows that the deflection torque is directly proportional to the current passing through the coil.

Error in PMMC Instruments

In PMMC instruments the error occurs because of the ageing and the temperature effects of the instruments. The magnet, spring and the moving coil are the main parts of the instruments which cause the error. The different types of errors of the instrument are explained below in details.

1. Magnet – The heat and vibration reduce the lifespan of the permanent magnet. This treatment also reduced the magnetism of the magnet. The magnetism is the property of the attraction or repulsion of the magnet. The weakness of the magnet decreases the deflection of the coil.

2. Springs – The weakness of the spring increases the deflection of moving coil between the permanent magnet. So, even for the small value of current, the coil show large deflection. The spring gets weakened because of the effect of the temperature. One degree rise in temperature reduces the 0.004 percent life of the spring.

3. Moving Coil – The error exists in the coil when their range is extended from the given limit by the use of the shunt. The error occurs because of the change of the coil resistance on the shunt resistance. This happens because the coil is made up of copper wire which has high shunt resistance and the shunt wire made up of Magnin has low resistance.

To overcome from this error, the swamping resistance is placed in series with the moving coil. The resistor which has low-temperature coefficient is known as the swamping resistance. The swamping resistance reduces the effect of temperature on the moving coil.

Advantages of PMMC Instruments

The following are the advantages of the PMMC Instruments.

  1. The scale of the PMMC instruments is correctly divided.
  2. The power consumption of the devices is very less.
  3. The PMMC instruments have high accuracy because of the high torque weight ratio.
  4. The single device measures the different range of voltage and current. This can be done by the use of multipliers and shunts.
  5. The PMMC instruments use shelf shielding magnet which is useful for the aerospace applications.

Disadvantages of PMMC Instruments

The following are the disadvantages of the PMMC instruments.

  1. The PMMC instruments are only used for the direct current. The alternating current varies with the time. The rapid variation of the current varies the torque of the coil. But the pointer can not follow the fast reversal and the deflection of the torque. Thus, it cannot use for AC.
  2. The cost of the PPMC instruments is much higher as compared to the moving coil instruments.

The moving coil itself provides the electromagnetic damping. The electromagnetic damping opposes the motion of the coil which is because of the reaction of the eddy current and the magnetic field.

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